Schools must address the severe societal problem posed by the plight of homeless and runaway youth. These helpless kids have it rough because they don’t have the resources to get an education or meet their basic requirements. The educational system has a significant role in resolving this issue by providing safety, structure, and enrichment activities for children living on the streets. Homeless children should be given equal opportunities in accessing education.
Schools can launch outreach initiatives to locate and interact with children living on the streets. Dedicated staff and students can visit neighborhoods where these kids live to establish rapport with the families and offer advice on making the most of local educational opportunities and resources. This can be done through the support of the government. This can also be a community program introduced in schools to visit the homeless children during the weekends to spend quality time with them.
Providing healthy food and access to medical care in schools is one way to help homeless children. This method not only allows their health but also encourages them to come to class regularly. The Street children, for sure, are not in a position to get a balanced diet. They mainly feed on leftovers and are always at the mercy of strangers’ food. It is, therefore, necessary for schools to chip in and provide healthy meals for these street children. Healthy diets help in normal body functioning and will ultimately enable them to learn well.
Children living on the streets can benefit from psycho-social support services offered by schools, such as therapy and mentoring. Their mental health and growth as a person can both benefit from this kind of encouragement. Street children predominantly suffer from stress and depression. They sometimes tend to feel secluded and abandoned by society. Schools should make these kids feel at home by providing a conducive learning environment. Guidance and counseling services will enable this kid to feel loved and be guided when they tend to stray.
In collaboration with schools, the government can provide vocational training for these homeless children. Vocational training programs in the regular school curriculum might give homeless kids marketable skills that will boost their chances of finding jobs and ending their cycle of poverty. Technical careers such as electrical engineering, tailoring, and masonry require practical skills. These valuable skills take short study periods, such as three or six months. If determined and motivated, street children can gain the skills effectively. The government should also create job opportunities for these kids so that they can be assured of getting a job when they finish these short courses.
Schools can create partnerships with nongovernmental institutions (NGOs) to ensure these homeless children benefit from the program. This organization can expand its network and create jobs for youths who still need to complete their studies. Homeless children will not only be considered but also children who are not in a position to be able to fund their education. NGOs also reach remote areas and give opportunities to many people.
Additionally, schools can offer mentorship programs to street children. These programs can help create HIV/AIDS awareness. These children are usually left out and are vulnerable to diseases out there. Drug addiction is also common among these children, and they should be advised to refrain from them by educating them on the adverse effects of drugs. Drugs lead to truancy, indiscipline, and the spread of diseases.
Summarily, schools should ensure that education is provided for all children, particularly by reaching out to homeless children. Schools can create a nurturing and inclusive environment for these children by providing meals and healthcare, offering psycho-social support, and vocational training. Through these concerted efforts, we can ensure that street children are not left behind and have equal access to education and opportunities for a brighter future.
Glauser, B. (2015). Street children: Deconstructing a construct. In Constructing and reconstructing childhood (pp. 128-144). Routledge.
Milner IV, H. R. (2013). Analyzing poverty, learning, and teaching through a critical race theory lens. Review of research in education, 37(1), 1-53.